Newark might need to allow hunting in the city limits to reduce the deer population, city officials say.

Newark might need to allow hunting in the city limits to reduce the deer population, city officials say.

"I have 15 deer in my front yard every night," said Newark City Councilman Don Ellington, who lives on Harlech Drive. "I could name half of them."

Ellington, who chairs Newark City Council's service committee, said the committee is expected to review the issue again this year. The committee considered hunting last year but was unable to come up with a plan that would work.

Ellington said he has asked the city administration to present ideas to the committee, which will meet Monday.

"The biggest problem would be finding areas that are safe to hunt," he said.

Other nearby municipalities already have hunting programs in place. Granville's is perhaps the most restrictive. Bow hunting is allowed on public and private properties, but owners must agree to put their properties in a designated hunting zone. Hunters are chosen based on the number of years they have been hunting, prior urban deer-hunting experience and other qualifications.

According to the village's final report on the 2008-09 hunting season, 47 hunters took a total of 95 deer (84 females) after hunting on 75 properties that included 779 acres.

Pataskala also has a deer-management program. Hunting is allowed in the city limits but only in zones where firearm discharge has been approved. The city annually reviews the discharge zones to determine if the boundaries need to be changed.

Heath instituted a deer-management program this year. Bow hunters first must register to hunt in the city and meet several qualifications, including having a valid hunting license and having passed a hunting proficiency test at a local archery range. Bow hunters may hunt only on private property of four acres or more with an owner's permission. Heath previously allowed deer hunting at the airport.

Newark City Councilman David Rhodes said Newark might consider a program similar to Granville's, which the village has made work.

"I think it's something we at least should have a good discussion on," Rhodes said.

Newark building-code update

The service committee also is expected to review legislation ending contracts with municipalities, townships and Licking County for building-code services.

Newark's building-code department provides residential and commercial inspections and services for the city and several other entities in Licking County. Last year, when the department had trouble operating within budget and the city had to supplement the department through its general fund, council voted to raise fees for outside contracts. That angered several other municipalities. Hanover officials withdrew completely, contracting instead with the state for services. Heath officials also expressed concern about keeping a contract with Newark.

Since then, Newark has continued to struggle to fund the department. The county commissioners have formed a committee to determine if the county could take over the department and run it more effectively and efficiently, but the results of that study are not finished yet.

Rhodes said he anticipates that Newark's service committee would forward to the full council legislation to end the contracts with outside entities. If the contracts were canceled, Newark would have 90 days to continue providing services to those entities before closing the department.